EU privacy legislation

You may have heard about the “cookie law”, which came into effect on May 2012. This is a popular term which refers to new EU and UK legislation designed to ensure that people who use websites are aware of their rights to privacy and have the information they need to make an informed decision about their online activities.

What the cookie law covers

The legislation applies to non-essential cookies (and similar devices) on openly accessible websites: it does not apply where a user has logged in (for example to a personal account) or to cookies which form an essential part of a specific function of the site (such as remembering what’s in an online shopping basket).

What is a cookie?

Cookies are small text files placed on your computer when you visit a website. They are likely to be stored all together in a dedicated cookies folder.

There are different kinds of cookies: for example, some are used for tracking purposes, marking the presence of each visitor and gathering information about the pages visited and the time spent on the site; others are used for marketing or advertising, remembering the kinds of websites you have visited or products you have looked at online before in order to present adverts or information you may be interested in.

Cookies do not store and are not linked to personal data – they simply provide anonymous statistical information about site visitors.

Cookies on Central England Co-operative websites

The only cookies we set on Central England Co-operative websites are for tracking. These do not gather any personally identifiable information about you but keep a record of:

  • which page you enter the site at
  • which other pages you visit and how long you spend on each page
  • whether you have visited the site before
  • any links you click on that relate to specific activities (such as if you go to look at a food offers page)

The cookies we set expire automatically after a certain period of time (usually a month). If you make several visits within that time, the cookie will tell us you are a returning visitor. After the month, you will be identified as a new visitor.

We use the information provided by cookies to help us to make our websites better for our users. The analysis tells us, for instance, how easily visitors are finding their way around the site, or how successful our promotion of annual general meetings has been.

Facebook and Twitter

If you are a Facebook or Twitter user and use the sharing buttons on our websites, those sites may set a cookie. We can’t control the setting of such cookies.

You don’t have to accept cookies

No matter which browser you use to visit websites (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or one of many others), you can turn off cookies if you are concerned about your online privacy.

Even if you turn off cookies, you will still be able to use our public websites with no loss of performance or function: what will happen is that your visit will not show up in our site statistics.

The method of disabling cookies varies from browser to browser. There is a comprehensive guide on (whose parent is law firm Pinsent Masons) which explains how you can both take control of and delete cookies on your computer. It also provides more information about the cookie law and what website owners need to do to comply with the new legislation.